NEW YORK -- Burdines is an electronic adventurer.

The Miami-based store is participating in Time Warner's Full Service Cable Network in Orlando, Fla., an interactive service that will include movies-on-demand, games and home shopping.

"We think electronic advertising or electronic shopping is what's in store for the future," said Carey Watson, senior vice president of marketing of Burdines in a telephone interview.

"At some point in our lives, I'm sure we'll look at newspapers on computer screen. The Time Warner test for us is to try to understand what some of the issues are as far as being able to buy from a digitally generated signal."

While fashion sells with some success on QVC and Home Shopping Club, experts wonder how it will play on interactive systems, where the consumer is free to browse without the help -- or interference -- of a host and guest, who can muse about the stitching of a jacket for 30 minutes.

"We feel we have the longest and biggest learning curve with fashion apparel," Watson said. Burdines will present total outfits, including shoes.

"We will show career outfits, day and day-into-night," Watson said. "Initially, it probably won't be private label apparel. We've had conversations with Liz Claiborne and a few other people."

Watson said the programming Burdines will offer in Orlando could be exported to other parts of the country.

"There might be opportunities and markets outside Florida," he said. "Markets where a Florida store could add some expertise, like selling swimwear in Minnesota in November."

Retail experts said it's no surprise that Burdines is getting involved with interactive technology. The company was the first retail store to completely computerize typesetting and page makeup and one of the first stores to bring broadcast production facilities in-house.


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